It has been one of my biggest pet peeves when people look at me and say, “You’re a farmer, you’re rich”. I was once told by a car dealer that they wouldn’t give me a deal on a car because they KNEW how much farmers were making and knew I had the money. Well let me tell you what kind of money I REALLY have.
Yes my farm is worth a million or so. Once it’s paid off. Once I pay off all my debt to the bank to buy the tractors, equipment, and other necessities to make some MONEY off the land. Also, I’m not SELLING the land so I really don’t have that money. That’s like saying, well if you sell your house you’d have $200,000 so I know you can afford something. That’s what I don’t understand. I’m worth a million once I sell it or die. Wow isn’t that a great life goal. Once I die or sell everything I love and treasure, I’ll be rich. Wouldn’t that just be the BEST? Not. Do these people realize that we are NOT rich. Our net worth is not what we actually have or aim to have. We buy the land to farm the land to feed the world. Why can’t that one sentence be enough for people to understand? My dad is 60 years old and still paying off our farm that he bought in 1994. He is still paying off 200 acres. So every load of cattle we sell doesn’t go into our pocket. Granted we aren’t living in poverty. My dad build us a nice new home and a new machine shed, but don’t think that we paid for that right away. My dad is still paying off those too. I’m not asking for sympathy, I’m just explaining that we aren’t as rich as everyone believes. Many probably would think we don’t need the machine shed, but I disagree. That keeps our million dollars of machinery better protected and longer lasting. Our house was a necessity–our old house was over 100 years old and it was cheaper to build new than to try to fix the old house. These are the things others don’t realize. They see us driving expensive tractors and using expensive equipment and think it’s just been handed to us. We’ve had to work for everything we have just like everyone else. Not only do we pay welfare and food stamps like everyone else, we’re the ones that grow the food to be purchased by food stamps. So technically we’re paying more than you, but we’re not complaining.
Others think we get a break on taxes. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Don’t tell me that your husband who drives semi’s on the highways everyday has to pay more in taxes to drive on the roads and that farmers should have to pay more too because they ruin the highways pulling grain carts and driving on it. You pay what we pay for land and then we can talk. Don’t tell me that I’m a farmer and so I got all my college paid for. WRONG. FASFA wouldn’t give me a dime because it looked like my parents were millionaires on paper. I didn’t any scholarships (unless for my grades) because it appeared that I didn’t need any help. Granted I am paying for college and my parents aren’t so I don’t know why it matters what my parents make, but that’s a different story. The only way that farmers get a break on their taxes is if they buy something really expensive. So ya there taxes go down, but they STILL are paying for something. Many think this is how farmers cheat, but if you think about it they’re just growing their business. They need this equipment anyway so why not buy it, decrease their tax money a little bit, and help grow their business. Farming is a business like everything else. Why aren’t companies/businesses/organizations given as much grief as farmers are. They do the same things we do. We just get hassled for it. It’s sad to think that an adult store who sells, well you know, doesn’t get any grief, but farmers who raise EVERYONE’S food does.
This is just my rant for the day. I was always hassled growing up for being a rich ‘farm girl’. When actually I was far from it. My family has NEVER had money. We aren’t poor, but we sure as heck aren’t rich. It was hard for people to understand that when farmers sell crops or livestock that they don’t deposit all that money. It goes to pay off bills that you’ve acquired throughout the year.
How do YOU feel about farmers being considered ‘rich’? Ever feel like people have been misled on how our operations really make money? It doesn’t matter the amount of acres you have. Someone once told me, “Everyone is poor. The bigger you are the bigger expenses you have. Just because you have a lot of acres doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to pay for.”